People who don’t suffer depression see the world through much different and much clearer lenses then those of us who do. It seems to me that these people have the idea that depressions is just feeling sad, like they do when they wake up in the morning and feel “off” or not themselves. They will start their day and by lunchtime they are being back to their normal happy selves.
Somehow many people expect that those of us with depression and just “turn off” depression.
Recently a friend asked what was up, so I explained that I had, just a short time before, been diagnosed with depression.
His response? Pretty much this: “What the hell is the big deal? Everyone that feels a little sad says they have depression.”
Although somewhat miffed, I tried to explain that depression is a lot more and much different than feeling a little blue or sad. And that in my case I often don’t feel anything at all, emotionally numb, if you will. That I have lost enjoyment in thing I used to really enjoy such as; my photography, running (although for me it’s more honestly power walking) and yes, even sex.
“It sounds more like you’re just being lazy. Just snap out of it.”
It was at this point that I really started to lose my temper and thought it was in the best interest of both of us that I leave his place.
Clinical Depression is not something a person shrugs off during the day, it’s not just feeling a little down, for me it’s more like this:
Imagine waking up, going downstairs for your morning coffee before work, sitting down with your mug, a cat snuggles into your lap, and you watch the morning sky turn from dark to bright red. you know that this is what should be a really pleasant time but you feel: Nothing
Now imagine being a photographer. You’ve won a couple of small awards for photographs and you have had some of your work in exhibitions in college. You also know that even though you SHOULD be really enjoying taking photographs, your camera bag is right there and ready to go, it doesn’t hold any interest for you anymore.
That is part of what depression feels like for me. Besides the inability to sleep through a whole night many times and the feeling of general listlessness.
It feels like I have been somehow set apart from people, things and activities that I enjoyed and that enjoyment of them is at this time, out of reach.
“Just snap out of it.” Like in some way I want to feel like this or it is a simple matter of deciding to be happy.
If this sounds like I am being overly sensitive, remember that the person that said it was a guy that I had grown up with, by best friend, and for some reason thought may be supportive.
Ignorance and support, I now know, are mutually exclusive.
So please, if someone tries to explain what depression is and how they feel; don’t ever fucking say:
“Just snap out of it.”